U.S. Vice President Mike Pence strapped on his most earnest "serious face" on Thursday as he made the argument about why the U.S. military must come to dominate outer space with its military – an idea that has been panned with a stream of derisive adjectives that could quite possibly stretch to Mars and back.
"What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial," said Pence of space during his speech at the Pentagon.
"And as President Trump has said, in his words," he continued, "it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space. And so we will."
But was Pence's a convincing case? Not really.
As Common Dreams has previously reported—in a piece overtly titled Poverty Rampant, Puerto Rico Destroyed, Single Payer "Too Expensive," and Flint Still Doesn't Have Clean Water. But You Can Have Space Force!—the idea that more Pentagon spending should be devoted to further militarizing and dominating outer space—when so many pressing problems remain under-funded and unsolved—is laughable on its face.
Maybe, just maybe, we should make sure our people are not dying because they lack health insurance before we start spending billions to militarize outer space. #SpaceForce
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 9, 2018
And as columnist Belén Fernández articulated in June of this year, the idea of increasing military infrastructure in space, let alone creating a so-called Space Force, is "astronomically misguided."
Meanwhile, the ridicule and ire directed at Pence's speech on Thursday mounted quickly online.
What follows is a (small) sample.
I would MUCH rather have my hard-earned tax dollars go to:
- Drinkable water for Flint
- Restoring power to #PuertoRico
- Rebuilding crumbling infrastructure
- Reuniting kids separated at border
- ELECTION SECURITY
than this idiotic Space Force idea.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) August 9, 2018
The president has no friends at all because no one has taken him aside and told him, look dude, Space Force sounds fucking idiotic.
— roxane gay (@rgay) August 9, 2018
This will go down in history as the most idiotic, hairbrained scheme in the history of the #UnitedStates. Truly Trumpian. #SpaceFarce
#Pence launches #SpaceForce, says U.S. needs to prepare for 'next battlefield' https://t.co/QTfB3jmi6z
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— Citizen_SpaceForce (@ThePhotowagon) August 9, 2018
What a joke. The same right wingers that hyperventilate over "big government" suddenly have no problem with the creation of a wasteful, redundant "Space Force." A new bureaucratic monstrosity. The same fucks that say we're too broke to help the sick or feed impoverished kids.
— Aiden Wolfe (@AidenWolfe) August 9, 2018
Ex-NASA astronaut Mark Kelly on the Space Force: "The only person that I've heard say this is a fantastic idea is the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States. Everybody else says it's redundant, it's wasteful. We don't have the need out there right now." @MSNBC
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 9, 2018
Republicans: “Cut wasteful government spending!”
also Republicans: “Space Force!” pic.twitter.com/d700rcE5WG
— Korynn (@Korynn_W) August 9, 2018
On the one hand, Space Force is a foolish idea that solves no actual problems, but on the other hand, it's a great way to transfer taxpayer money to defense contractors
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) August 9, 2018
WHAT THE FUCK IS A SPACE FORCE JUST GIVE PEOPLE HEALTH CARE https://t.co/1O2qY8MQu2
— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) August 9, 2018
I mean, this is completely f*%$ing ridiculous, right? I feel like we're trapped in an SNL skit. We don't have enough money to support healthcare or the environment, but we can create a f*%$ing SPACE FORCE to combat non-existent enemies. I just can't even anymore.
— Diane Gardner (@dgard5th) August 9, 2018
So obviously space force is ridiculous and that's why we're all laughing at it... but I also have serious concerns about the militarization of space, which I thought we all agreed was a bad idea back in the 60s.
— Michael Cordover (@mjec) August 9, 2018
I think it’s reasonable to assume anytime Space Force is in the news it’s a distraction from something awful going on. The White House knows damn well that a Space Force is ridiculous, and they know even better that it’s attention-grabbing.
— Cameron (@PresidentLeahy) August 9, 2018
Though as some noted, Space Force might create jobs. And that's important:
But who are the brave civilians that'll support the Space Force? Get your space training now from Leo Deblin. @EbonyMag Astronaut of the Year. June '87. #LeoDeblinSpaceCollege pic.twitter.com/MeCGRDxVRK
— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) August 9, 2018
In the end, however, President Trump was not going to let Pence get all the credit for Space Force:
Space Force all the way!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2018